Ministry of Labour, Social, Family Affairs and Integration

Self-Employment Business Start-Up

In Germany, more and more business founders have a migration background. In this section you will find in brief what you should pay attention to when setting up your company.

Business Start-Up - Hamburg Welcome Portal

Good Reasons for Hamburg

Some 250,000 people from 185 different nations live and work currently between the Alster and the Elbe. Economic potential and a high quality of life make Hamburg one of Europe’s most dynamic economic areas. Among others, locational advantages are based on Hamburg’s good transport links on the Elbe, with the Port of Hamburg providing access to the North and Baltic Seas – and therefore all countries of the world.

Founders of new businesses are given particular support in Hamburg and can benefit from various competent advisory services when implementing their idea. That’s why nearly 10,000 new companies are founded in and around Hamburg every year.

Residence Permit

Citizens from European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) states as well as from Switzerland enjoy unrestricted freedom of movement in Germany and the same rights as Germans. They do not require any residence permit.

Non-EU citizens and non-EEA citizens need a special residence permit which entitles to do business in Hamburg.

Social Insurance

The social insurance system guarantees the social security of our society and consists of health insurance, long-term care insurance, accident insurance, unemployment insurance and pension insurance. This social insurance system, however, is primarily designed for employees. Business and shop owners are themselves responsible for their social security. For them, only health insurance and long-term care insurance are mandatory.

Self-employed persons may choose either a statutory health insurance company or a private insurance provider. The contribution rates for statutory health and long-term care insurance are defined by law. On top, there is a small additional contribution every statutory insurance company can determine individually. In case you opt for private health insurance, the amount of contributions depends on the scope of services you have chosen as well as on your age and your state of health at the time the contract is concluded.

Additionally, it is recommended to insure oneself against other entrepreneurial risks (e.g. inability to work caused by an illness or accident) as well as to ensure adequate pension provision.

Funding Programmes

In certain circumstances your business can be funded by the government. Feel free to contact the IFB Business Advice Centre to get information about funding queries. It advises on funding offers from the Senate of Hamburg, the German federal government and the EU.

Necessary Paperwork

Don’t forget to register your company with the relevant authorities in Germany before its start (so-called “Gewerbeanzeige”). 

You can do this by visiting one of the following institutions:

More Information

There are numerous offers of support for people interested in setting up a business in Hamburg. For more information please continue with the article "Contacts & Information Centers".